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The Top 20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai (in no particular order!)

Dabaiiiiiiii

Dabaiiiiiiii

Living in Dubai is not wonderful and glamorous, as many would have you believe.  Forget about what you’ve read, seen, and heard; those shiny buildings and manmade islands are all just smoke and mirrors.  There are so many things wrong with this place that I have decided to compile a list, a must read if you are considering a potential move to Dubai.

1. There is no standard address system making mail-to-the door delivery impossible.  In fact, it makes anything nearly impossible.  The taxi driver, here for only two days, and having learned English from old Beatles albums has no clue where your house is.  He won’t tell you that of course, he’ll just keep calling and saying, “Okay, okay.  Yeah, yeah.”  When you purchase something that requires delivery they do not have an address line, but a box where you are expected to draw a map.  Not able to draw a map?  Explain like this: I live on the street after the airport road, but before the roundabout.  Go past the mosque and make a U-turn.

2. The government blocks all web sites that it deems “offensive” to the “religious, moral, and cultural values” of the UAE.  That’s hard to swallow for a freedom loving American, but I get it.  I do not understand, however, why all VOIP access and related web sites are blocked.  I guess the government also takes offense to people inexpensively contacting their families back home.  You’re welcome to call using the analog service provided by the government-owned telephone monopoly, but it will cost you a whole lot more.  So much so, in fact, your frequency of calls will be greatly diminished if you can afford them at all.  The government says VOIP is blocked for security reasons, yet even the residents of communist China and North Korea have access to these inexpensive calls.

3. It is really hot outside.  Not Florida in July hot; Hot as if you were locked in a car in Florida in July with sufficient humidity to make it feel as though you are drowning.  Hot as in 120 degrees with nearly 100% humidity.  Do not look to the wind for relief.  This is the equivalent of pointing a hairdryer on full blast directly at your face.  Pour fine moon dust-like sand over your head as you do this and you get the picture.

4. There are too few trees, plants, and grass – or living things aside from us crazy humans, for that matter.  Ever see a bird pant?  I have.  In my opinion, human beings were not meant to live in such a place.  If we were, there would be sufficient water and shade.  The only greenery around are the roadside gardens planted by the government, who waters the hell out of them in the middle of the day.  Thanks a lot!  Didn’t you say we should cut down on our water consumption because you are unable to keep up with the demand?  I have an idea: let’s all move someplace where it’s not 120 degrees outside.

5. This country prides itself so much on its glitz and glamour that it put a picture of its 7-star hotel on the license plate. Yet, the public toilets in the king-of-bling Gold Souk district are holes in the ground with no toilet paper or soap.  Hoses to rinse your nether regions, however, are provided.  This results in a mass of water on the floor that you must stand in to pee.  Try squatting without touching anything and keeping your pants from touching anything either.  Oh yeah.  It’s 120 degrees in there too.

6. This country encourages businesses to hire people from other poor countries to come here and work.  They have them sign contracts that are a decade long and then take their passports.  Even though taking passports is supposedly illegal, the government knows it happens and does nothing to enforce the law. These poor people are promised a certain pay, but the companies neglect to tell them they will be deducting their cost of living from their paychecks, leaving them virtually penniless – that is, if they choose to pay them.  Companies hold back paychecks for months at a time.  When the workers strike as a result, they are jailed.  Protesting is illegal, you see (apparently this law IS enforced). These people will never make enough to buy a ticket home and even if they do, they do not have their passports.  They live crammed in portables with tons of others, in highly unsanitary conditions.  The kicker: they are building hotels that cost more to stay in for one night than they will make in an entire year.  Things are so bad that a number of laborers are willing to throw themselves in front of cars because their death would bring their family affluence in the form of diya, blood money paid to the victim’s family as mandated by the government.

7. Things are not cheaper here.  I’m sick of people saying that.  I read the letters to the editor page of the paper and people say to those who complain about the cost of living rising here, “Well, it’s cheaper than your home country or you wouldn’t be here.”    The only thing cheaper here is labor.  Yes, you can have a maid – but a bag of washed lettuce  will cost you almost $10.

8. There are traffic cameras everywhere.  I consider this cheating.  Where are the damn cops?  I drove around this city for weeks before I ever even saw a cop.  Trust me, they need traffic cops here.  People drive like idiots. It’s perfectly okay to turn left from the far right lane, but speeding even just a couple of kilometers over will get you fined.  These cameras are placed strategically as you come down hills, or just as the speed limit changes.  Before you know it…BAM!  Fined.  Forget to pay the bill and your car will be impounded..

9. The clothing some of these women wear makes no sense to me.  I understand that as part of your religion you are required to dress in a particular way, but a black robe over your jeans and turtleneck and cover your head when it is 120 degrees outside?  In the gym some women wear five layers of clothing…sweatpants and t-shits over sweaters with headscarves.  Yet the men’s clothing makes absolute sense: white, airy, and nothing underneath but their skivvies.

10. People stare at you.  I am sick of being stared at.  I’m stared at by men who have never seen a fair-skinned blue-eyed woman before, or who have and think we are all prostitutes so it’s okay to stare.  They stare at me when I am fully covered or with my husband, and even follow me around.  It’s beyond creepy and has brought me to tears on more than one occasion.  The staring is not limited to men, either.  I’m stared at angrily by female prostitutes who think I am running in on their territory by having a few drinks with my husband at the bar.

11. Prostitutes?  Oh hell yes, there are prostitutes.  Tons of them.  So, let me get this straight, I can’t look at a naked picture of a person on the Internet in the privacy of my home, but it is okay to go out in public and buy a few for the night?

12. Alcohol can only be sold in hotels and a handful of private clubs.  A person must own a liquor license to consume in the privacy of their own home.  To obtain a liquor license you must get signed approval from your boss, prove a certain level of salary that determines how much you are allowed to buy, and then submit several mug shots (aka passport photos) for approval.  Pay the fee and the additional 30% tax on every purchase and you may drink at home.  Then again, you can just pick up a few bottles in the airport duty free on your way in to the country, but two is the max.  Why not just drive out to Ajman where it’s a free-for-all and load up the SUV?  It’s easy enough, but crossing the Emirates with alcohol is illegal – particularly in the dry emirate of Sharjah, which just happens to lie between Dubai and Ajman.  Go figure.

13. Not only do you have to get your boss’s approval to obtain a liquor license, but you must also get the company’s approval to rent property, have a telephone, or get satellite TV.

14. Back to the craziness on the roads: If I see one more kid standing up and waving to me out the back window while flying down the road at 160 kph…whatever happened to seatbelts?

15. When is the weekend again?  Let me get this straight: the weekend used to be Thursday and Friday, but no one took off all of Thursday, just a half day really.  Now the government says Friday and Saturday are the weekend, but some people only take off Friday, others still take a half day on Thursday, but some might just take a half day on Saturday instead.  Anyway you slice it, Sundays are workdays and little business can be accomplished Thursday through Saturday.

16. There are few satellite television operators:.  The movie channels play movies that are old and outdated.  Many of them went straight to video back in the States.  Every sitcom that failed in the US has been purchased and is played here.  Old episodes of Knight Rider are advertised like it is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  The TV commercials are  repeated so often that I am determined NOT to buy anything I see advertised on television here just for thee principle of it.  When I say repeated often, I mean every commercial break – sometimes more than once.

17. The roads are horribly designed.  Driving ten minutes out of the way to make a U-turn is not uncommon.  People are not able to give directions most of the time (remember reason #1), and the maps are little help because most have few road names on them, if any.  Where is interchange four?  You just have to hope you got on the freeway in the right place and start counting because they are not numbered.  Miss it and you’ll likely end up on the other side of town before you are able to turn around and go back.

18. Taxi drivers are dangerous and smell. Taxi drivers work very hard here to earn a living because travel by taxi is still relatively inexpensive, even though the cost of living is not (see reason #7).  Because of this you may have a driver who has had little sleep or the opportunity to shower for several days.  Many of these drivers have just as much difficulty finding their way around as you do, but add to this a third-world country driving style and extreme exhaustion and, well, remember to buckle up for safety.

19. Speeding is an Emirati sport and Emirates Road is just an extension of the Dubai Autodrome.  I know I keep mentioning the roads, but really, much of this city’s issues are encompassed by the erratic and irrational behavior displayed on its streets.  Visions of flashing lights on even flashier, limo-tinted SUVs haunt me as I merge on to the highway.  Local nationals are somehow able to get the sun-protecting dark window tint denied to us lowly expats and use it to hide their faces as they tailgate you incessantly at unbelievably high speeds, their lights flickering on and off and horn blaring repeatedly.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t get over, or if doing so would be particularly dangerous, they will run you off the road to get in front of you.  Don’t even think about giving someone the finger; the offense could land you in jail.  Tailgating is, unbelievably, legal.

20. Dubai is far from environmentally friendly.  Ever wonder how much damage those manmade islands are doing to the delicate ocean ecosystem?  Coral reefs, sea grasses, and oyster beds that were once part of protected marine lands lie choked under a barrage of dredged up sea sand.  Consider the waste that occurs from erecting buildings on top of these sand monsters and from the people that occupy them coupled with the lack of an effective recycling program and you have an environmental disaster on your hands.  Add to this more gas guzzling SUVs than fuel-efficient cars on the road and the need for 24-hour powerful air-conditioning and its evident that the environment is not high on the priority list of the UAE.

So while I’m sure there are benefits to living in Dubai, tax breaks, multi-cultural environments, and beautiful buildings aside, reconsider your plans to move here if any of the above mentioned reasons strikes a chord within you.  Dubai is a city caught in an identity crisis.  Struggling somewhere between its desire to be a playground for the rich and its adherence to traditional Islamic roots, rests a city that lacks sufficient infrastructure to support its delusions of grandeur.  Visit if you must, but leave quickly before you are sucked into its calamitous void.

I haven’t been to Dubai EVER :(

280 thoughts on “The Top 20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai (in no particular order!)”

  1. Very True article !!! must consider before moving to country like this? Here we cannot believe and cheating in many ways

  2. I think you really must travel around the world a little more to list the above as the problems which makes a city unlivable.

    -people are happy here.
    -the reason laborers are willing to live without their passports and at the mercy of their sponsors is cause they have a fair shot of a life in comparison to begging on the streets and being forced into a gang back in their home country.
    -being stared at, you might be standing out. There are way too many expats for a blonde, fair skin or blue eyes being an attribute to :o!!!
    -Also, the fake trees etc.. read a little about the history of Dubai. It was nothing but SAND and not very long ago. To make it livable, this is their conclusion.
    -Crime rate and safety is not a concern for the most part if you have a little bit of common sense. Most other countries require more than just that.
    -I feel sad that you went to clubs and bars and were mistaken as a prostitute. We all know those places, and we all know the caliber and that is oh well, just such a pity you were mistaken for one.
    -At least we got marijuana and crime scene sorted. There are busts that take place to minimize prostitution.
    -women are safe.
    -there is a helpline number if you are walking on the street or driving and are being minutely harassed.
    -There are way too many police cars patrolling. I have no idea how you could miss those.
    -I have lived in Dubai for 25 years now, and every little point you picked on has been worked on with dedication and the difference is visible.
    -Also, i am glad you no longer belong here, don’t think we need more of you in Dubai.

    Hope you’re happy and can come up with a few less negative about the place you currently reside in. 20 some points are easy to pick for even places you really love. Just saying.

  3. Dubai is not safe that’s for sure. Its all superficial. World’s worst sin human trafficking happens here. workers are treated as slaves like animal. They are harassed and mentally tortured. Passports are held and you are not allowed to leave. Recent story, newly wed couple went for honeymoon from India and met one Shaikh while touring. They exchanged their numbers. after two days shaikh invited this couple for party. Poor couple, they went to attend party. Shaikh told the husband wife not allowed to sit together, so husband sent his newly wedded wife to other room thinking that all women would be there. After few hrs, husband told they would like to leave and requested to call his wife. Shaikh showed his true color. Shaikh said there is no wife in his house. You can leave now or I will beat you and throw you away. Poor guy, newly wedded husband still looking for his wife. His wife missing since then. Government not helping out. Woman are not safe here. they are treated as sex object. I request not to visit Dubai Ever.

  4. silly americans! bet they still sleeps in their bunkers shitting in their pants thinking about laden! get a life ‘ghountrymen’!

  5. silly americans! wonder when these shit scared ppl (bet most of’em still sleeps in bunkers shitting in their pants thinking of laden) will get a real life!

    1. ….this “damned muslim country” is one that has accomplished so much before you could even finish your sentence. There is no need to take it out on the religion, I may find your country ridiculously terrible to live in but that’s for me to keep and you to never know. Have some respect as no one is perfect AND no one gives a shit what you think….

  6. Honestly … My friend no place in this world is Useless …if you believe in God then you must know he made nothing futile .. People are living here way back when America was even discovered and i know your right to some extent but not all what you said is true

  7. IFY, most rapes + crimes and traffic comes with the different culture that mostly VISITORS such like you come to live in DUBAI. yes Dubai is a haven on earth to live in PS we don’t have taxes . and if you hated so much keep your dirty thought for your self and keep yourself out of our ” best paradise” :) peas sucker!!

    1. man she is right it happens in dubai.. i live here and almost wht ever she said it happens in dubai admit this.. i live in dubai n i love it bc is muslim country but it has flaws as well.. not all tht she says is true but 80 percent is truth

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